Toy Making at Channapatna

Traditional wooden musicians
Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

 

I visited Channapatna along with two other photographers with the intention of seeing how they make wooden toys. Channapatna is en route to Mysore from Bangalore. Having traveled on that route many times, I have seen wooden toys being sold by the highway. However, I have never actually seen them being made. We managed to locate a factory that still employs fairly traditional tools to make these toys by hand.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

We were welcomed into the factory, and asked to wait. As the board says, the factory is open to public and anyone can walk in to see a demo. However, there was a power cut at that time, so we were waiting in their showroom which is also inside the factory.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

We spent some time shooting the empty workbenches, while the workers were hanging around outside waiting for electricity to be restored.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

The workbenches were completely filled with wooden debris. This actually made the entire setting very interesting.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Once the power was back, the workers slowly started their work. Most of them were quite old, and seemingly very experienced.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

There is a electric lathe constantly running. The toy maker attaches a block of wooden and uses sharp tools to bring out various shapes. He also uses gummy lacquer to bring color and shine to the finished product.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

A worker first carves, then sandpapers a wooden vase. He finally inspects it before it is sent to be painted.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Some of the toys go through a round of spray painting. This happens up stairs. Notice the big exhaust fan? It is to suck the harmful spray paint away from the worker’s face.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

During the tea break, one of the workers took us to another area of the workshop. Here, we saw a person hand painting wooden vases. He demonstrated great skill in free hand painting. It was quite mesmerizing to watch!

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

After having spent a good amount of time, we had a word with the proprietor. We learnt that the art of wooden toy making is fast dying. As always, the reasons include penetration of the market by cheap Chinese imports, and lack of support from the government. Indeed, the huge hoarding on the highway that reads, “Welcome to Channapatna – the land of wooden toys” seems very out of place! Nevertheless, we were glad to see this factory still surviving. We thanked the owner and bid good bye.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

Channapatna is famous for wodden toys. I visited a factory that manufactors these toys using hand tools. This is a photo story that documents the process.

I recently printed this series on Red River Aurora Art White paper. This is matte paper with very fine texture. The processing on these photographs look great on this paper. I’d love to show the prints to you in person.

34 Comments

  1. Laksh
    July 19, 2014 @ 4:44 am

    So happy I stumbled on this! It’s beautiful, thought provoking and informative. I was curious about the toy making process and was wondering if it was worth a visit… Now, I will definitely take the trouble when I pass that way!

    Thank you; the pictures and your write up was a lovely experience.

    Reply

  2. Puja
    January 21, 2015 @ 11:14 am

    Hi Pratap , 
     Your blog was quite informative , especially about the “Live demo” given in the factory . 
    I was planning a one day trip to Channapatna (would be starting from Bangalore on bike)  are there any things I should be prepared for? 
    Since I don’t the regional language will that be a barrier or should Hindi suffice while communicating with people there?

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      January 22, 2015 @ 4:11 am

      Hi Puja,

      You should be able to interact in Hindi. The workers don’t communicate much, but the owner is a friendly guy. Thanks for stopping by.

      Pratap

      Reply

      • naveen kumar
        January 25, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

        hi pratap. am an architecture student from SPAV college. thanks for the valuable info. i would like to do a documentation on these toy making procedure, right from the raw wood to finished toy…i dnt know d regional language properly…so wud hindi/english/telugu can be mangaed there….? or any people speak these language der ?..how do the people react for having negotiation ??
        very much delighted to have a reply from you. thank you in advance

        Reply

        • Pratap J
          January 27, 2015 @ 4:44 am

          Hello Naveen,

          Yes, you can speak in Hindi. I am not sure about the bargaining aspect as we did not purchase anything.

          Reply

  3. naveen kumar
    January 25, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

    hi pratap. am an architecture student from SPAV college. thanks for the valuable info. i would like to do a documentation on these toy making procedure, right from the raw wood to finished toy…i dnt know d regional language properly…so wud hindi/english/telugu can be mangaed there….? or any people speak these language der ?..how do the people react for having negotiation ??
    very much delighted to have a reply from you. thank you in advance

    Reply

  4. Vinisha
    March 13, 2015 @ 6:02 am

    Hi Pratap,
    Your pictures are wonderful and insprie a visit :).
    Would you please tell me how I can get to this place from the Bangalore Mysore Highway?
    Thank you in advance.

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      March 13, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

      At the town of Channapatna, please ask for Beereshwara Toys. It is just off the highway.

      Reply

  5. Mahendra
    May 21, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    Hi pratap,
    I am very happy to sèe the blog.
    If you can give me your contact no i would like to discuss few things with you on business

    Reply

  6. Vijay
    July 12, 2015 @ 5:53 am

    hi pratap

    have a look at http://www.oodees.in

    a completely new spin to channapatna toys.

    we have brought in contemporary designs and come out with delightful toys and home accessories

    Reply

  7. Malati
    July 31, 2015 @ 2:53 pm

    Hi. My understanding is Channapatna toys are painted with natural vegetable dyes. From the article, it appears that this is not the case. Quite disturbed since I bought some of these toys as gifts for toddlers. I hadn’t realized they use chemical spray paint. Saddened that they have given up the old ways and the toys may now be toxic.

    Reply

    • Vijay
      August 12, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

      malati

      ur correct.

      some local manufactures use synthetic sprays.

      please buy with reputed toy makers.

      have a look http://www.oodees.in

      Reply

  8. seema
    December 26, 2015 @ 5:57 am

    hey, Pratap, myself Seema Awasthi  a craft designer .i’m searching for some local channapatna toys artisans to provide them sustainable platform, from their they will be able to sell out their exquisite crafted products…if u have any contact no regarding same plz share with me. 

    Reply

    • Vijay
      December 28, 2015 @ 6:55 am

      seema

      we are interested.

      we work with artisans.

      like to talk 9986418515

      Reply

    • Shujath
      January 29, 2016 @ 10:02 am

      Hello Miss Seema.

      There are numerous toy manufactures in Channapatna town. I’m a Law student at Law centre-II,Delhi University and I belong to Channapatna town. If you can drop me you mail id on [email protected] i’ll be able to help you provide contact details of few of the Toy makers in channapatna. Thank you. 

      Reply

  9. Vinodh
    January 14, 2016 @ 10:34 am

    Hi I would like to source some toys for my child who is 4 months old. Can someone help me with my requirements.  Some help would be highly appreciated.  

    Thanks and regards

    Vinodh

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      January 14, 2016 @ 10:37 am

      You could visit Chanapatna to purchase toys.

      Reply

  10. Vijay
    January 15, 2016 @ 7:57 am

    hi vinod

    you can buy OODEES toys on Amazon.

    check for OODEES on amazon.

    we are sure, you shall love our toys.

    Reply

    • Lalitha
      January 29, 2016 @ 6:15 am

      Hi Can i get the contact details of that factory. I want some things get done from them. 

      Reply

      • Pratap J
        January 29, 2016 @ 6:23 am

        Hi Lalitha, I don’t have the contact of the factory. Sorry.

        Reply

  11. vidushi
    June 28, 2016 @ 11:24 am

    hey……..thank u so much for sharing this information…..i am design student and i am working on a project on channapatna toys….it turned out to be really helpful .
    if possible can i get the address of this factory…i want to visit it since i want to collect information for my project…..also if u have a number do share it as soon as possible.

    Reply

  12. Dr Malavegowda RN
    August 22, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

    Hi Pratap,I being a native of Channapatna thank you personally and on behalf of Channapatna people for your efforts in portraitng the toys of Channapatna.Re-recognition of these toys is need of the hour as there is a lot of competition from cheaper China make toys.So many families still live on this home industry and finding difficulty in marketing,state and central govts should take some steps in protecting and promoting these kind of home industries.
    Your photography is super and perfect.
    Thanks once again,
    Dr Malavegowda RN
    Ortho surgeon.

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      August 23, 2016 @ 10:29 am

      Thank you doctor!

      Reply

    • Arpitha Rao
      October 14, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

      Dear Sir,

      Since your from the same place.. Can i get the information/Address where we can buy the best toy for doll show. If you have any contact information. Please do share with us.

      Thanks & Regards,
      Arpitha.

      Reply

      • Pratap J
        October 14, 2016 @ 6:27 pm

        If you visit Chanapatna, there are several places that sell the toys.

        Reply

  13. Samruddhi Kadolkar
    September 1, 2016 @ 7:17 pm

    Hello Sir, Your blog was very informative as i am working on a research project about Channapatna Toy making…and was looking for some interesting things related to the toy making. Your “visual explanation” was indeed very helpful to me. Thanks once again.

    Reply

  14. Prathap Ghorpade
    October 12, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

    Hi Pratap,

    I along with my family are planning to trip to Channapatna to purchase wooden toys for our daughter. I went through your blog and found “Beereshwara Toys” to be the place to where I need to go. Can you please share location details of this place. I am not able to find this place on google maps. I am planning to travel this weekend and I am starting from Bangalore.

    Thanks,
    Prathap

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      October 12, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

      Unfortunately I don’t have the location details. Channapatna is a small town. You could ask for directions to “Beereshwara Toys” once you are there. The factory is not very far from the highway.

      Reply

  15. Ram
    November 8, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

    Hi Pratap,

    I am doing Toys retail business. am interested to purchase channapatna toys.
    do we have wholesaler’s in channapatna.
    can you give some contact details.

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      November 8, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

      Yes there are. If you can visit Channapatna you can speak to the manufacturers directly.

      Reply

  16. karan patel
    August 29, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

    hello pratap ji..
    muje ee sab toys kharidne hai..
    lekin muje directly jo middle class log banate hai unse kharidna hai..
    taki me unhe kuch help kar saku and mje har 3 mahine me order dena hai…
    mera number 7405743998, 7874404446

    Reply

  17. sandhya
    September 26, 2017 @ 10:25 am

    i want a pair man and woman wooden dolls for my show case . Where can i get it ?

    Reply

    • Pratap J
      October 2, 2017 @ 7:32 pm

      Try the Cauvery emporium in Bangalore.

      Reply

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